There shall be music wherever they go.

Flaneur is too grand a word for it. I am throughly enjoying my village bumpkin-ness in the Rajdhani.

The metro covers 30 kilometres from my little Russia to Connaught Place in sterilised organised comfort in one hour. It has smart-cards and tokens and security checks and disability access. I think its best feature is the whoosh sound it makes when it leaves each station letting you imagine that you are headed to Mars and not to Rameshnagar.

At Nehru Park, on a green hillock couples make out in stylised poses silhouetted against the sky. MP and I giggled thinking of the happy lemmings huddling on the wet rocks of Bandstand.

The Capital should be jaded by the abbondanza of Things-to-Hear-See-Do.But they are not because luckily they arrive late and leave early. Even for Kishori Amonkar.

MP and I craned our necks each time we saw double strings of pearls and silk kurtas bowing and scraping. Mani Shankar Aiyar, Ambika Soni, Sudhir Dhar. Was that Vinod Mehta? Mark Tully for sure. Don't point, MP admonished. My inner bumpkin grinned.

A man leaped up from the posh-er seats in front of us for a hatchet-faced couple. He had been warming their seats for them so they could make an appearance at the Kishori Amonkar concert but not suffer any musical affrontery from the small fry who preceded her. The dismissed flunkey ran away after several bows and listening to some sharply hissed instructions.

The pudgy silk-sareed MC was afflicted by near-orgasmic professional huskiness as she read from a hilarious script with enough hot air to power a Richard Branson ascent. After she 'facilitated' the flashy sarod player Parthosarothy whom she coyly called Partho she introduced Kishori Amonkar creating small Mexican waves of winces. "Kishoriji was a doyenne, a Saraswati, she dives into vast oceans of musical notes, she is part of a deep spiritual realm, she needs silence, she is a...."

Kishori Amonkar took a good long time to appear. Which was sensible because Parthosarathy's jamming was ringing in our ears for ages after he left. Also Kishori is a true fire-breathing tempermental diva. One who has in the past stopped mid-note and said to a chattering woman in the audience, "Either you leave or I do." Who a week back in Patna walked off the stage 20 minutes into the performance because of a noisy audience.

At Nehru Park she was brisk and polite to the bhaiyyas doing the heavy work on stage but barked at the organisers to switch off all the lights glaring in her face. When listening to her even musical donkeys such as I could see what they mean when they say "Its not in the voice its in the gayaki." MP says if Kishori deigns to sing you go down on bended knees and thank your good fortune. But this is the Capital where 74 year old divas who frowns at organisers and bark at video cameras are not too popular. After a bit the taunting claps began.

And this potential storm in a swarmandal was handled in the most foolhardy, so foolhardy that its almost adorable, manner by the MC who chattered into the night air. Because of course silence would be unbearable. She talks about the importance of silence for artistes for some time longer in the manner of a bunch of men I once saw entering the Bahai temple and exclaiming, "Kitna silent hai."

She goes away briefly and reappears bright as a magpie. "Please wait for a few more minutes as Kishoriji needed to go the bathroom." Rows of bhakts jumped in outrage. The princess pee? Terrible. Terrible. I had images of the diva hearing about this and the MC facing a wall at dawn. MP wondered aloud where they had got this dunderhead. But the Punjabi aunty next to MP chose that minute to tell her husband in admiring tones "Bolti bhi achchi hai. Angrezi bhi achi hai." Ah innocence, I cackled to myself.

In the sabzi mandi last night I reverted to halli-gugu. I was trying to remember what the Hindi word for garlic is. A scrubbed, trimmed, moustachioed flower of Indian manhood appears next to me with an anal retentive gleam in his eye and a green army camouflage (!) shopping bag. I thought I had imagined what happened next but Spellcheck says that he heard it too. The Man-flower tells the skinny, tired hawker, "I am from the SPG. What is the price of the gajar?" I goggled but the vendor ignored him and his increasingly shrill demands.


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